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Giving Young People the Second Chance They Deserve

Harmeet Kamboj Wednesday, 18 April 2018 Posted in 2018, Federal Update

By Harmeet Kamboj, Communications Associate

Earlier this month, President Trump signed a presidential proclamation declaring April “Second Chance Month.” This proclamation follows a 2017 bipartisan Senate resolution that called on Americans to “observe Second Chance Month through actions and programs that promote awareness of collateral consequences; and provide closure for individuals who have paid their debts.” After incarcerated people serve their sentences and leave the justice system, their past continues to haunt them by making education, employment, and housing nearly impossible to attain. This month – and always – we must do our due diligence to provide currently and formerly incarcerated Americans with a second chance to build stable and fulfilling lives as productive members of society.

Justice for All

Rachel Marshall Thursday, 12 April 2018 Posted in Voices

By Rachell Marshall, Federal Policy Counsel

From the federal level to state legislatures across the country, criminal justice reform measures are a hot topic of conversation and proposed legislation. What is often lost in those conversations are the views and voices of victims. As an organization that fights to end the prosecution, sentencing, and incarceration of children in the adult system, we are all too aware that children are often times victims of crime and exposed to trauma before they ever get arrested. One young man who was 15 when he began an 8-year sentence in an adult prison for a carjacking said, “It never occurred to me to carry a gun, or use it against someone until someone stuck a gun in my face.” We know that children who come in contact with the justice system have higher rates of exposure to trauma and violence than children who aren’t in contact with the system. We also know that some victims experience trauma not only after a crime has been committed, but also after their experience with the justice system. Further, we know that in many cases, crimes of violence are perpetrated against family members or members of our community--so limiting our response to victims to a carceral one only often does more harm than good. It’s time to take a new, holistic approach to restoring justice and healing in our communities, one that yields outcomes that reduce future offending, not just punishment.

Our Drum Major for Justice Beats On Through His Legacy

Marcy Mistrett Wednesday, 04 April 2018 Posted in Uncategorised

By Marcy Mistrett, CEO

In the five decades since Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, U.S. families, advocates, and youth continue his legacy for justice, specifically targeting criminal justice reform.

Justice, Fairness, and Power: Why District Attorney Races Matter on Ballots in 2018

Gianna Nitti Tuesday, 27 March 2018 Posted in Campaigns

By Gianna Nitti, Public Interest Communications and State Campaigns Fellow

In our country one of the elected officials that holds the most power, and often for long terms, is the District Attorney (alternative titles include commonwealth's attorney in Kentucky and Virginia, state's or county attorney in Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Vermont, and circuit solicitor in South Carolina). DA’s have a crucial role in the criminal justice system – they are responsible for deciding whether or not to prosecute a case and the level of charges and sentences that they are going to pursue.

Youth Art Month: Empowering Youth Advocacy Through Creativity

Patience Fordham and Presley Mettler Friday, 23 March 2018 Posted in Voices

By Patience Fordham and Presley Mettler, Carolina Youth Action Project

Creatives across the country are celebrating Youth Art Month during the month of March, and whether it’s visual, written, performed, or experienced, art has served as a critical tool for empowerment and advocacy among individuals and families impacted by incarceration. The Carolina Youth Action Project is just one of many great organizations across the country helping youth channel their creativity into action for issues close to them—like youth justice. We’re excited to share written pieces from two young people involved with the Carolina Youth Action Project who responded to the question: “What’s something you wish people knew or understood about prisons?”

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month: Youth and the Disability-to-Prison Pipeline

Aprill O. Turner Thursday, 22 March 2018 Posted in Uncategorised

By Aprill O. Turner, Communications Director

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, which aims to increase public awareness of the needs and potential of those with developmental disabilities.

National Youth Violence Prevention Week: Putting our Children and Communities First

Harmeet Kamboj Monday, 19 March 2018 Posted in 2018, Across the Country

By Harmeet Kamboj, Communications Associate

This week marks National Youth Violence Prevention Week, an initiative spearheaded by Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) and Sandy Hook Promise to "raise awareness and to educate students, teachers, school administrators, counselors, school resource officers, parents, and the public on effective ways to prevent or reduce youth violence." In light of the recent Parkland, Florida school shooting and resulting policy talks addressing school safety, CFYJ hopes this year's Youth Violence Prevention Week sparks a conversation that not only forefronts the safety of our youth and communities, but also underscores the need for school- and community-based support services that benefit our children in the long term.

The Importance of Women’s Engagement in Our Political Process

Gianna Nitti Wednesday, 07 March 2018 Posted in 2018, Across the Country

By Gianna Nitti, Public Interest Communications and State Campaigns Fellow

March celebrates International Women’s Day, a time where we collectively take a look around the world and throughout history to recognize the groundbreaking social, economic, cultural and political contributions of women to our country and the world. Ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, CFYJ is looking at where and how women in our country are serving in elected office, especially in positions that can benefit youth justice, as well as potential for increased engagement in this regard.

New BJS Report: A Closer Look at Youth in Connecticut

Gianna Nitti Monday, 05 March 2018 Posted in 2018, Research & Policy

By Gianna Nitti, Public Interest Communications and State Campaigns Fellow

Recently, the US Bureau of Justice Statistics released its annual bulletin of Prisoners for 2016. Trends shown in the report provide hope for the youth population and advocates, with results showing a 58% decline for the number of imprisoned youth between 2009 and 2016 – from 2,279 to 956. Policy changes at the state and federal levels have led to a decline in crime and arrest rates, which positions states to be able to progress with reducing their youth incarceration rates in adult facilities.

Don’t Arm Teachers; Arm Communities with Prevention Supports

Rachel Marshall Monday, 05 March 2018 Posted in 2018, Across the Country

By Rachell Marshall, Federal Policy Counsel

One week after a gunman took the lives of 17 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSD) in Parkland, Florida, students across the country stood in solidarity with students from MSD and walked out of their classes to demand action on gun control.

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